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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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Splendid Land, Review: Xinjiang is a many splendoured place

Splendid Land, Review: Xinjiang is a many splendoured place The China-Greece co-production documentary, Splendid Land, directed by Eleni Vlassi and Jin Huaqing, presents the wonderful land of Xinjiang, China and its ancient customs, through a musician pursuing the Mukam music and the spectacular landscape.  Seldom has so much splendour been captured in such a short span. The film is only twenty minutes long, but it flows along seamlessly, and when it ends, you are left craving for more. ...

MAMI 22, 02: Entries invited

MAMI 22, 02: Entries invited Mumbai Academy of Moving Image is holding its 22nd Mumbai Film Festival during March 11-15, 2022. Entries are now open. You can submit your film in the following sections: India Gold / Spotlight Completed after 1st December 2020 Made by directors who are either an Indian citizen/Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)/Person of Indian Origin (PIO) At least one of the producers is an Indian citizen At least 50 minutes in length Not screened publicly in India before ...

Dilli Kaand, Review: Those that rape and those that gape

Dilli Kaand, Review: Those that rape and those that gape When a film is delayed six years in its release, its fate is more or less sealed. Dilli Kaand was launched in August 2015 and sees the light of day on 24 September 2021. Of course, the delay of the last 18 months can be attributed to the Covid 19 Coronavirus pandemic, when cinema-halls remained shut, but the six-year delay cannot be explained by Covid. Even now, cinema halls have only opened in some states of India, with conditions impo...

FIPRESCI-India calls for Entries for the Chidananda Dasgupta Memorial Award for Best Film Criticism

FIPRESCI-India calls for Entries for the Chidananda Dasgupta Memorial Award for Best Film Criticism To commemorate the Birth Centenary of their Founder President, Chidananada Dasgupta (Born: 20 Nov 1921), FIPRESCI India calls for the competition on film criticism, 2021. ֍ Organised by: FIPRESCI-India (India Chapter of the International Federation of Film Critics: FIPRESCI) ֍ Cash Value for the Best Awards: Best= Rs.6,000/- and 2nd Best= Rs.4,000/- ֍ Certificate of Merit: Besides the awa...

IFFI 52, 02: Entries close on 31 August

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IFFI 52, 02: Entries close on 31 August There is still time to enter your films for the 52nd International Film Festival of India, which will be held in a hybrid format during November 20-28, 2021, in Panaji, Goa, Western India. The last date for submission of Online Application is 31st August, 2021. International entries are accepted if they conform to the following rules: NOTE: Classroom and advertising films are not eligible for participation in any section. NOTE: Final screening ma...

MAMI 22, 01: Priyanka Chopra Jonas new Chairperson, Festival in March 2022, No international competition

MAMI 22, 01: Priyanka Chopra Jonas new Chairperson, Festival in March 2022, No international competition Mumbai Academy of Moving Image has unveiled plans for 2021-22. The blueprint for the next film festival will feature new leadership and a new creative vision that is attuned to the radical changes the world has witnessed in the last two years. Taking over the reins as Chairperson is actor, producer and author Priyanka Chopra Jonas. She was unanimously nominated by MAMI’s Board of Tru...

IFFI 52, 01: It’s happening

IFFI 52, 01: It’s happening The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is one of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest international film festivals. The 52nd edition of IFFI will be held during 20-28 November, in a hybrid format, considering the success of the 51st edition, in January 2021. The Festival is being organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India in collaboration with the State Government of Go...

Cinemasthan in Rajasthan: A RIFF Film Club initiative

Cinemasthan in Rajasthan: A RIFF Film Club initiative Cinemasthan is an Online Over-the-Top (OTT) video streaming platform initiated by RIFF Film Club. Cinemasthan primarily focusses on Rajasthani Language content, and also offers Short Films, Music Video Albums, Feature films, Documentary Films, Animation Films & Regional Films, from India and abroad. Cinemasthan is Rajasthan's first local OTT Platform which has a highly evolved video streaming technology and pays high attention to t...

RIFF Film Club invites entries for Student Smartphone Short Film Contest

RIFF Film Club invites entries for Student Smartphone Short Film Contest It's a great opportunity for all school as well as college-going students. Entries are invited to empower the story-teller inside the students, through film-making, with smartphones. There are two categories in the contest, i.e. Category A - Juniors (age up to 18 years) & Category B - Seniors (age 18 and above). The top winner from each category will get a direct entry to the Official Selection in the Student...

FIPRESCI-India announces its Grand Prix winner for 2020

FIPRESCI-India announces its Grand Prix winner for 2020 FIPRESCI-India (India chapter of the International Federation of Film Critics: FIPRESCI) declared the Tamil Feature Film Nasir, directed by Arun Karthick, as the Winner of the prestigious Grand-Prix-2020, according to a Press Release issued last week, by V.K. Joseph, President, FIPRESCI-India. Members of FIPRESCI-India have voted Nasir as the Best Indian Feature Film of 2020 out of the following TOP-10 films nominated for the final ro...

The Courier, Review: Delivers on time

The Courier, Review: Delivers on time A spy story with no fights, no gadgets, agents who neither carry guns nor seduce each other, The Courier is a hark-back to the genre that can be traced at least to deglamourised espionage outings like The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin, way back in the 60s. It’s not positioned as a competitor for the James Bond or Mission Impossible series, or their spin-offs, and is, in fact, based on a true story. Unwavering focus on the plot, and all round co...

RIFF 7, 2021, 6: Third and Final list of films announced; France to be country of focus

RIFF 7, 2021, 6: Third and Final list of films announced; France to be country of focus The third and the final list of films of the 7th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) was released yesterday, which includes the Kannada film "Avalakki Pavalakki", Directed by Durga Prasad and Produced by Ranjitha Subramanya, "Kagaaz", Directed by Satish Kaushik and Produced by Salma Khan, Nishant Kaushik and Vikas Malu (presented by Salman Khan), a Documentary film, "...

Breaking News in Yuba County, Review: Last one standing gets the millions

Breaking News in Yuba County, Review: Last one standing gets the millions It’s genre-defying film, with a most unlikely protagonist, and several parallel tracks, all intertwined. Re-affirming the myth that, in America, anybody can get away with anything, and that killing and violence are about as common as pizza and burgers, Breaking News in Yuba County makes a messed-up attempt to say that amidst all this mayhem, loyalty to your wife and love for her are values worth cherishing. But it...

IFFI 51, 51: My ‘golden peacock’ moment and the denial of recognition to IFFI Veterans

IFFI 51, 51: My ‘golden peacock’ moment and the denial of recognition to IFFI Veterans It’s not the real thing, only a memento. Nevertheless it is not the lesser for me, in terms of value. How did I come about getting a replica of the much coveted Golden Peacock, which is the main prize at the International Film Festival of India? I was not part of any film shown at IFFI, nor had I contributed in any way, other than writing 51 articles on IFFI 51, attending some 30 film sho...

IFFI 51, 50: Ramin Rasouli’s The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night is based on four true stories

IFFI 51, 50: Ramin Rasouli’s The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night is based on four true stories “The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night tells the story of four different lives, driven by different emotions, each person having struggles which are different, yet intertwined. There are many stories around us, both good and bad. I found four stories, and put them together for this movie.”  Director Ramin Rasouli was speaking about his IFFI 51 Film, which he says is based on t...

Oh My Ghost, Review: The suicidal man and the four selfish ghosts who want him to live

Oh My Ghost, Review: The suicidal man and the four selfish ghosts who want him to live Different in many ways from the usual horror ghost dramas, both international and Indian, and even dissimilar to Casper, the Friendly Ghost, Oh My Ghost is a Marathi language film that is interesting in parts, but does not have enough to leave a lasting impression. It uses not one but four ghosts, two each from either gender and with vast differences in ages. At its heart is the tragi-comedy of a luckless, ...

IFII 51, 49: Avijatrik, a sequel to Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar

IFII 51, 49: Avijatrik, a sequel to Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar In an edition where the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) pays tribute to legendary film-maker Satyajit Ray, there was a fitting entry in the Indian Panorama Feature Film section of the festival, which builds on his rich cinematic contribution. Avijatrik, a sequel to Ray’s The Apu Trilogy, often cited as the three greatest films in Indian film history. The trilogy comprises the Bengali films Pather Panchali ...

IFFI 51, 48: Prawaas exhorts people to embrace minimalism

IFFI 51, 48: Prawaas exhorts people to embrace minimalism “Earlier, we used to regard the whole world as one family: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. But now, even the family is not regarded as family. We have to stop running the rat race; we have to stay happy and realise that we can be happy only by helping others.” This is the heartfelt message conveyed by Shashank Udapurkar, Director of the Marathi film Prawaas, which has been screened at the 51st International Film Festival of India, i...

IFFI 51, 47: Is digital detox An Impossible Project?

IFFI 51, 47: Is digital detox An Impossible Project? Put down your phones. Have a digital detox. This is the seemingly impossible invocation made by an IFFI 51 German film, featured under International Cinema, at the 51st International Film Festival of India, being held in Goa. Yes, it may be An impossible Project, as the film title suggests, especially in a world where each second, every sphere of life is influenced by digital technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. Gi...

IFFI 51, 46: 14th February and Beyond--The flip-side of Valentine’s Day

IFFI 51, 46: 14th February and Beyond--The flip-side of Valentine’s Day Valentine's Day is tampering with the mental well-being of our society. This is the emphatic and unequivocal message given by The 14th February & Beyond, an IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Non Feature Film, in the words of Director Utpal Kalal. "The film explores the commercialised nature of this highly capitalised day". He was addressing a press conference at the 51st International Film Festival of India ...

IFFI 51, 45: Aavartan is an attempt to showcase kathak in the time of item dances

IFFI 51, 45: Aavartan is an attempt to showcase kathak in the time of item dances Renuka, a disciple of Kathak maestro Bhawna Saraswati, begins to add a new dimension to the dance form she inherited from her. This puts Bhawna in a state of insecurity and identity crisis. Not knowing how to deal with her emotional self, she starts dejecting Renuka, making it painful for Renuka. Renowned Kathak Dancer Padma Shri Shovana Narayan has played the role of Bhawna Saraswati in the film Aavartan, whic...

IFFI 51, January 16-24, 44: Press Conference of Vera Moura and Joao Pedro Mamedi, stars of Moral Order

IFFI 51, January 16-24, 44: Press Conference of Vera Moura and Joao Pedro Mamedi, stars of Moral Order Women tried to find their voice in society, facing existential struggles, in the early half of 20th century Europe. Providing a window into their lives is Mario Barroso’s Portuguese movie, Moral Order, which has had its World Premiere, in the World Panorama section of 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), in Panaji, Goa. In 1918, Maria Adelaide Coelho, heiress and owner ...

RIFF 7, 05: Pride of Rajasthan Award to go to producer Om Chhangani

RIFF 7, 05: Pride of Rajasthan Award to go to producer Om Chhangani The 7th edition of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), accredited by the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI-North Region) will be organised by the RIFF Film Club, in a Hybrid Format, from 20 to 24th March 2021 in Jaipur and Jodhpur, Rajasthan - India. This year, the theme for the RIFF 2021 is "Music in Cinema". RIFF 2021 will also celebrate the Pre Foundation Day of Rajasthan. The Founder, Di...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 43: Malayalam film Thahira; struggles of a partially deaf woman and a visually impaired man

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 43: Malayalam film Thahira; struggles of a partially deaf woman and a visually impaired man “Thahira’s never-give-up attitude towards life helped in taking care of her sisters’ education and marriages. She also constructed a house with her hard-earned money, after her family lost everything due to her father's debts”. The Malayalam feature film ‘Thahira’, under IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Feature Film section, tells the story of a r...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 42: Investing in Life chronicles survival in unfavourable conditions

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 42: Investing in Life chronicles survival in unfavourable conditions “A film on survival of every living being in unfavorable situations like social boycott, road accidents and man-animal conflict.” This is how Vaishali Vasant Kendale, director of ‘Investing Life’, describes her 52-minute non-feature film, produced by Films Division, that was screened at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI). In the post-screening press conference...

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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